There has been a lot of recent media attention to the wave of upper respiratory infection that’s been swweeping the city. Thankfully here at Dakota we’ve seen a big reduction in thenumber of cases going in, so we are hoping the worst is over. A few important points to remember – first, there are MANY types of upper respiratory infections a dog can get. Kennel cough is a very specific infection caused by a very specific agents ( a bacteria called Bordatella bronchiseptica and a virus called parainfluenza. Although many of the dogs we have been seeing have similiar symptoms, this does not automatically mean kennel cough! Second, many of these are viral – which means an antibiotic will make absolutely no impact on the infection. Often we use anti-inflammatories and anti-tussives to control the symptoms until the dog’s body deals with the infection by itself. There are certain cases where we suspect bacterial involvement and then antibiotics certainly are indicated.
For anyone who has a dog that has been vaccinated for kennel cough but is showing signs of upper respiratory infection, a test to identify the culprit can be run (a PCR test done of the throat and nasal swabs). If the dog truly has a kennel cough infection, many of the vaccine companies will help defray the cost of treatment in order to assist where their product may not have given protection.
For any of our clients who have concerns about their dog being exposed to kennel cough, we encourage you to contact us – it is never a bad idea to vaccinate your dog for kennel cough if their lifestyle increases their risk. For new patients or dogs that have not been seen recently we would simply require a physical exam be performed first to make sure they are healthy enough to be vaccinated.
If your dog has had upper respiratory symptoms please contact us for an appointment – we can help to minimize symptoms and keep your dog comfortable. If your dog is symptomatic and was previously vaccinated for kennel cough testing is available to find the underlying agent.
Overall if you are worried about your dog contracting kennel cough, avoid high risk areas where many dogs are together in an enclosed space such as boarding kennels, doggie daycare, some grooming salons, group behavior/ training classes etc. Even open areas such as off leash parks can hold some risk with many dogs in close interactions.
If you have any questions or concerns about upper respiratory infections or kennel cough please contact us at 204-255-8811